The ‘Lame Duck’ Argument Does Not Apply to
President Trump

As the political establishment scrambles to prevent Donald Trump from winning the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, certain pundits have promulgated an endless stream of  faulty and malicious arguments in an attempt to keep him out. 

None are lamer than the “lame duck” argument. 

“Trump lost the last election because he could not control his obnoxious and petty behavior that needlessly alienated a large segment of suburban voters who otherwise voted Republican,” former Attorney General Bill Barr said in an interview with the New York Post. “And even if Trump were to squeeze out a narrow victory in 2024, he would enter office as a 78-year-old lame duck.” 

“I don’t want a lame-duck president on the first day in office,” Connecticut state senate GOP leader Kevin Kelly said. “We need a fresh face who is going to be able to bring that forward. That’s what America needs.” 

“Trump can only offer four more years,” said Dave Wilson, president of the Palmetto Family Council, an evangelical group based in South Carolina. “How are we going to build a movement that goes beyond the next four years to the next eight years to the next twenty years, that parallels what we have seen over on the progressive side?” 

These voices, many of which—let’s face it—want to take the Republican Party back to the days of weak but comfortable Bush-era neoconservatism, fail to recognize that Trump unchained and untethered, waging war against the enemies of America, unconcerned about any reelection possibilities, will supercharge the the Right for years to come. 

Before Trump came down the escalator, the so-called “conservative movement” was a moribund punchline. Globalist Republicans won token elections, but they never did anything with their power. As best emblemized by the feckless Trey Gowdy, now reinvented as a Rachel Maddow doppelganger who regularly bashes Trump on Fox News, they were all hat but no cattle. They offered little more than bluster to keep their constituents distracted while achieving negligible  success. 

Trump delivered results in a way that no one on the Right has done in a generation, and his so-called lame-duck status in a new term would give him the requisite leeway to finish the job. Trump, no doubt, probably made some decisions like declining to pardon whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange in part because he was being cautious going into the Republican primary for 2024. Such calculations will no longer have relevance during his second term. 

Trump has said that he is our “warrior” and our “retribution,” comments that have scared the weak-kneed on the Right who desperately want to click their red shoes together and go back to 1985. Make no mistake about it: the Reagan era was a great era. It is remembered fondly and ought to be. Reagan, like Trump, was far from perfect, but he was a great president and inspired a generation of limited-government conservatives. The 1980s were a far better time for our country, but those days have come and gone, and they will never be coming back. 

Over the past three decades, millions upon millions of illegals have crossed our southern border. Radical leftist movements, such as the transgender movement and Black Lives Matter, have risen to prominence and dominate culturally as Christianity has weakened and waned. The 9/11 attacks ushered in a dystopian surveillance state, with civil libertarians’ worst fears coming to pass as organizations like the FBI and CIA treat American citizens as terrorist threats and deprive them of due process. 

Trump may not be the ideal leader in the eyes of Reagan-era conservatives, but he is the leader this country desperately needs. He is the man of the times; he appeals to the unwashed masses, the types of folks who would never dream of attending a boring economics lecture or picking up a book on political theory. And despite the bleating of the corporate-funded think tank intellectual class who have appointed themselves the arbiters of official conservatism, this is a good thing. 

Trump has achieved something mainstream Republicans long failed to do by appealing to working-class people—the forgotten men and women of this country, Americans who were completely ambivalent about politics—and awakened them in a way that no other political figure possibly could have done. Only Trump can seize the opportunity to continue building this coalition; there is no replacement and no other coalition can win. The Conservatism, Inc. elites would rather close the door on this chapter of our history so as not to compromise their status in Washington, D.C. where they hope to attend cocktail parties and traverse high society without feeling awkward and ashamed for being represented by such a figure. Their shame in embracing Trump makes it clear that these are exactly the sort of men whom the founders warned us about. 

Samuel Adams spoke with scorn of those who loved “wealth better than liberty” and the “tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom.” He cared not for the “counsels or arms” of these weak men. Adams told these men to “crouch down and lick the hands which feed you,” mocking them as he said, “May posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” And we certainly have forgotten about these nobodies, just as we will all forget about the modern-day RINOs who are the heirs to the cowardly loyalists reviled by founding-era revolutionaries. 

President Trump is the only person so far on the scene who is capable of being the avatar for the righteous scorn of the common man and Republicans cannot win a freedom worth having without them. In a second term, Trump will be empowered to realize the promise of the MAGA agenda. Nothing will restrain him from devastating his enemies, who just so happen to be the enemies of civilization. Only one political figure strikes terror into the hearts of the globalists, and that man is Trump. The sophisticates may not understand, but the American people realize that there is no turning back. To give up on Trump would be tantamount to giving up on the nation. He is the only option for the Republican Party in 2024.

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About Gavin Wax

Gavin Wax is the 76th President of the New York Young Republican Club, Chairman of the New York Republican Liberty Caucus, an Ambassador for Turning Point USA, and an Associate Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research. You can follow him on Twitter at @GavinWax.

Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images